To our knowledge, the rate of change in the size of pediatric vocal fold nodules (VFNs) has not been investigated. Improved understanding of the factors that affect change in VFN size may help to better guide treatment decisions and counselling of families.
To characterize the rate of change in the size of pediatric VFNs over time and to identify which factors affect increased rates of improvement.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Retrospective review of 67 children evaluated in a voice clinic between 2002 and 2011 with a primary diagnosis of VFNs.
No treatment or behavioral modification only (n = 19) vs targeted voice therapy with or without the treatment of associated conditions (gastroesophageal reflux and allergic rhinitis) (n = 45) vs surgical intervention (n = 3).
Main Outcomes and Measures
Change in VFN grade (graded according to a previously validated scale based on size) over time.
Sixty-seven patients with a median (range) age of 6.0 (3.8-20.6) years were analyzed. Median (range) follow-up was 25 (1-119) months. The rate of change in VFN grade over time was significantly associated with large baseline VFN size (P < .001) and targeted voice therapy with or without the management of associated conditions or surgery (P = .01); the association with postpubescent age was not significant (P = .09). The rate of change in VFN grade was not significantly different at 1 and 3 years postbaseline (P = .33).
Conclusions and Relevance
Baseline VFN size, treatment, and patient age are important in predicting the rate of improvement in nodule size over time. Rate of change in VFN size is a gradual decrease that is steady over time. This information can be used to help guide treatment decisions and counsel families of children with VFNs regarding expectations for improvement. Additional study is needed to evaluate whether the same factors that influence nodule size similarly influence parental perception of voice and expert perceptual voice analysis.